MIT has a long history of admitting homeschooled students, and these students are successful and vibrant members of our community.
Over the past decade, we have seen a surge in homeschooled applicants. Homeschooled applicants make up less than 1% of our applicant pool (and less than 1% of our student body), but these numbers are growing. Homeschooled students come from urban, rural, and suburban neighborhoods. Some have been granted a formal high school diploma, while others have not. Please note that we do not require a high school diploma or GED from our applicants.
Successful homeschooled applicants
We do not have separate requirements for homeschooled applicants. Homeschooled applicants, like all of our applicants, are considered within their context, which includes schooling choice, family situation, geographic location, resources, opportunities, and challenges.
However, we do have some qualities we look for in for homeschooled students, based on successful applicants we have admitted in the past.
One quality that we look for in all of our applicants is evidence of having taken initiative, showing an entrepreneurial spirit, and making the most of their opportunities. Many of our admitted homeschooled applicants really shine in this area. These students truly take advantage of their less constrained educational environment to take on exciting projects, go in depth in topics that excite them, create new opportunities for themselves and others, and more.
The vast majority of our admitted homeschool students have taken advanced classes outside the homeschool setting, such as through a local college or an online school such as Stanford OHS. Transcripts of these courses, in addition to an evaluation of the homeschooling portfolio, are very helpful. Some students will also supplement with courses from MIT’s edX and OpenCourseWare.
Most of our homeschooled students have participated in extracurricular activities and community groups, such as community orchestras and theater, athletics groups, scouting, religious groups, volunteer work, work for pay, etc. Our homeschooled applicants, like all of our students, are active in their communities.
Many (but certainly not all) of our homeschooled students have been active in summer programs. For some students, summer programs (some programs we have frequently seen in homeschooled applicants include CTY, TIP, PROMYS, MathCamp, RSI, Tanglewood, and Interlochen, among many others) are a great opportunity to work with other students from diverse backgrounds in a collaborative manner. Summer program mentors and job supervisors can also be great choices to write college recommendations.
Extra recommendations can be especially helpful for many homeschooled applicants. We welcome a recommendation from a parent but require at least three recommendations in total (usually a counselor and two teachers). We encourage you to submit additional recommendations (but don’t submit more than four total recommendations) from those who know you well, such as coaches, mentors, job supervisors, clergy, etc.
MIT has alumni volunteers called Educational Counselors throughout the world who conduct interviews on behalf of MIT Admissions. We strongly encourage all of our applicants to interview, if available.